Tips for keeping your teens and tweens safe online

I recently had the chance to talk to the experts at ZoneAlarm about  Facebook’s latest privacy changes – where teens can publicly share their photos and updates as well as be found by the general public.  What does this mean for a teen’s online security?  What are some concerns parents should have or be made aware of?  It’s no secret that from cyberbullies to online stalkers and predators, teens face an increasing range of online threats. What can parents do to help their teens protect themselves online? Their experts offered up this infographic as well as some helpful statistics and tips for keeping our kids safe.

Did you know that?

  • 23 percent say they have been victims of cyberbullying.
  • 62 percent of teenagers have witnessed taunting and other cruel behavior online.

Control who sees timeline posts. Under privacy settings, you can select: “Who can see my posts?” Then, by changing it from “Public” to “Friends” or “Close Friends”, all future posts that your teen creates will just be seen by the audience that she specifies. She can also change the “Limit who sees old posts” setting from “Public” to “Friends of Friends” or “Friends.”

Watch out for apps. Under “Privacy Settings”, find “Apps, Games and Websites” and select “Edit Settings” for “App Settings”. You can then click “Edit” for any App you want to review and use the control panel to adjust any settings that access and share your information.

Limit who can look you up. Go to “Who can look me up” under privacy settings and make sure this is set to “Friends” who will be the only ones that can look-up your teen, using the email or phone number they provided. They can also avoid popping up in search engines by turning “Do you want search engines to link to your timeline?” to “Off.”

Control your tags.Your teen can control who tags them in a photo before it appears on her timeline. Under “Timeline and Tagging Settings”, go to “Edit” next to “Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook?” Change this to “Enabled.”

Connect with friends only. Stress the importance of connecting only with people your teen knows well. She can also report any abusive behavior she finds on Facebook or block any “Friend” who becomes abusive.

Don’t overshare. Make sure your teen understands how crucial it is to leave out certain details such as her birthday, home address, vacation plans or general whereabouts which predators or cybercriminals could use to their advantage.

Stick to a curfew. Studies show that kids who are on Facebook after midnight have a higher risk of encountering a problem. Let your teen know that even if a test has her up late studying, it’s safer to logoff the social network at a reasonable hour.
Protecting Kids Online